IMM1 Part Four – Writing That First Article

article-writingFour parts down already, that’s the first month almost under Genevieve’s belt! Amazing to see stuff starting to come together and how far she has come since week one. Soon we will be ready to reveal the site to you all as well. First up, we need to populate it with some content, so this week’s task was for Genevieve to write her first article.

She’s already written her “about” page and three weekly roundups for these posts, but it’s time for the next level.

Writing For The Web

Writing your first article can be hard, even if you’re not afraid of writing. It’s especially hard to get things like formatting correctly, remembering to use headings and subheadings. It’s also hard to know exactly how much to write and what to write about. One of the first articles I wrote here on HPD was about writing that first post. You can view it here.

I knew Genevieve would struggle a bit with this task, so I gave her the following tips:

  • Do your research. Check out the top 5-10 pages that already talk about your keyword/topic, and make sure you get a good understanding of what needs talking about. Also see what they’ve said and see how you can improve on it!
  • If possible, think of another angle to use the keyword from. If everybody is using “How to (keyword)”, you can try “Why (keyword)” etc.
  • Don’t worry about style too much, as this is something that develops over time. I told Genevieve to just write as naturally as she could.
  • Write 400-500 words.
  • Write 3-4 lines maximum per paragraph.
  • Write in a conversational style – it’s not a University thesis.

So How Did She Do?

Well she took a little longer than we both expected/hoped, but I honestly don’t think that’s a bad thing. Firstly, she’ll get much faster and she practices more, secondly, there’s no need to rush these things.

We’ve all seen rushed, crappy content online, we definitely don’t want to be adding to the pile.

Thirdly, it was worth it! Genevieve did a great job and I was really impressed with her article. It’s a brilliant debut, and a great base to build on. I know you can’t see the whole thing yet, so you’ll have to take my word for it.

I’ll hand over to Genevieve herself now for her thoughts on the task.

This is written by Genevieve: 

Writing My First Article

For my task this week, Dom asked me to write my first article from one of the keywords that I had chosen previously.  He said just go with the one that felt easiest to write about (gave me some tips) and do some research in Google or on forums.

I had so many questions!

Which one should I choose?  Which one is the easiest to write about?  Does “easy” even exist when it comes to writing articles, especially the first ones?  Where and how do I begin?

I dug up 4 articles for my chosen topic.  I poured over the articles and read them through a few times for about 2 evenings.  The articles I chose are very good and well written and they gave a lot of information (hats off to the writers).

One hard part is choosing the best information from all the articles.  I should be able to incorporate their info and add it into my article while making sure it still makes sense.  I didn’t want to be just blindly copying and pasting random, irrelevant stuff.

I finally was able to chose some information that I thought I could use and added it to my article.  Of course, I wasn’t done there!

There were tweaks, edits, reading, adding and more tweaks, edits, reading and adding,  I’ve probably done it a few times (at least 3 or 4) by now!

Finally, I was done.  I guess I had no idea how long it would take to write an article.  I wanted to write a nice article and one that’s easy to read and understand.  I hope I did.

One Comment

  1. I love the part that you included about “this isn’t a University thesis.” That was one of the most challenging things I faced as I was forced to “dumb it down some.” I have read over and over again that you want to try to write at an 8th grade reading level as that is where the average internet readership lies.

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